Futurama season 7 episode 3 review: Decision 3012
A little bit of politics continues Futurama's first-class run of episodes this season. Here's Cameron's review...
This review contains spoilers.
7.3 Decision 3012.
Here's an equation for you maths fans out there: Bender + Nixon = 1 Outstanding Futurama episode. But these two legends don't steal the show. A smattering of references to The Terminator, All The President's Men and the recent Obama birther conspiracy help proceedings along very nicely indeed.
On the promise of a "Free Bar" (included in a brilliant use of the opening title sequence), Bender finds that President Nixon is up for re-election and is using the lure of the gratis alcohol to rally his support. "Who here is tired of illegal space aliens taking our good Earth jobs?" he asks to the mob as he proposes to build a "fence" on the Southern part of the galaxy to keep out unwanted extra-terrestrials.
Through disgust, Leela decides to enter the political arena though the one-eyed mutant finds resistance from her crew: "He may not be perfect but do we really want some unknown new guy? I'll stick with the evil maniac I know, thank you!" retorts Zoidberg.
At the debate she attends, all but one of the candidates fail to address the topics at hand. In a not-so subtle gag, a female senator states simply, "We have a saying up in Alaska. That's all." The candidate who does offer insight and help is John Travers and, after a well-placed answer, host Morbo states in his always entertaining style, "A thoughtful and lucid answer. YOU WILL BE DESTROYED!"
Leela becomes Travers' campaign manager only to discover that Bender is colluding with Nixon on ousting the candidate. Despite the lack of dirt on Travers, his middle name Zaxxar leads to the shiny metal-assed one suggesting that the senator, from Hawaii, was not born on Earth. His "Earth Certificate" is demanded. As you can tell, this is thinly, if at all, veiled comment on the US's very own President Barack Obama (with his place of birth being given as Kenya - a knowing nod to the "birther" conspiracists who believe Obama was actually born there).
There are more utterly delicious surprises in store during the third act but I'll leave you to enjoy as the story takes a fascinating, but still hilarious turn as it parodies time-travel and time-time travel paradoxes. Writer Patric M. Verrone, the man behind over a dozen brilliant episodes like The Problem with Popplers and That's Lobstertainment!, knows the show so well and delivers a fantastic array of gags, from the cerebral to the political and from the satirical to the downright laugh-out-loud (Bender using a giraffe to break into a hospital, for example).
It's a hugely satisfying and solid story (though some may find the denouement a tad downbeat) that throws laughs and giggles at you faster than you get time to find all the references and nods (there's Waterworld and The Hunger Games gags included for the eagle-eyed). Decision 3012 continues a first class run from Futurama, a run that rivals its greatest moments and aptly demonstrates that it's one of the funniest, smartest and most rewarding television shows around.
Read our review of episodes 1 and 2, here.